By Chris Goldberg & Willie McGonigle
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/12/08
There were and equal amount of cheers and tears when Cheryl Colleluori spoke about her son, Nick Colleluori, during the special HEADstrong Presentation late in the afternoon of Saturday’s 2nd Annual Nick Colleluori Classic at Ridley High.
As most of the players from the 13 teams that participated in the event to raise money for blood cancer research sat in a circle in the field where Nick played in high school, they listened along with the large crowd to a mother who continues to fight just as she continues to grieve.
“My son Michael said, ‘Nick was one of a kind,’” she said. “He was ‘relentless.’ In whatever he did, whether it was busting someone chops, doing schoolwork or playing a game, he approached it with passion.
“This tournament is just a small glimpse of who Nick was. It is no easier for us today than it was when we got his diagnosis.
“We are asked all the time how we do it. To be honest, we really don’t know. All we do know is that each day that passes we are one day closer to Nick.”
The impact of Saturday’s Classic is staggering. Mrs. Colleluori, Chairman of the HEADstrong Foundation that runs the Colleluori Classic, said more than $150,000 will be raised from this event. An estimated 10,000 people attended the Classic, which featured 18 games over a 12-hour period.
In two short years, the Nick Colleluori Classic has become a major Fall Ball Tournament, and an even more renowned charity event. Plans are already being made for expansion next year, though Mrs. Colleluori does not want to change the venue away from Nick’s home.
One of the more poignant comments made Saturday came from Dr. Stephen Schuster, Nick’s doctor at the University of Pennsylvania. Schuster was introduced by Cheryl Colleluori and gave his own speech during the presentation.
“Nick and I shared something,” he said. “In his case it was better described as relentless because that word has action. I am referred to as obsessed. It sounds like a passive description, but it was quite the same.
“We basically shared a similar trait. We get stuck on an idea and we don’t give up. We may get knocked down and we may not always win, but we don’t give up.”